PIB Analysis : 3rd July

PIB Analysis for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Minimum Support Price
  2. Young Scientist Programme
  3. Agricultural export policy
  4. Indian Brand Equity Foundation
  5. Schemes for promotion of innovation
  6. Steps taken by India in safeguarding intellectual Property Rights
  7. Technology Development Programme

1 . Minimum Support Price


Context : Giving a major boost to the farmers’ income, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the increase in the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for all kharif crops for 2019-20 Season.

About Minimum Support Price

  • MSP is the minimum price set by the Government at which farmers can expect to sell their produce for the season.
  • When market prices fall below the announced MSPs, procurement agencies step in to procure the crop and ‘support’ the prices.
  • The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs announces MSP for various crops at the beginning of each sowing season based on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).
  • The CACP takes into account demand and supply, the cost of production and price trends in the market among other things when fixing MSPs.
  • The FCI and Nafed help the Centre procure select food crops with the help of the States. Procured farm products are kept in government warehouses and distributed through the PDS and various food security programmes.
  • Currently, there are 20-plus crops that have an MSP announced for them every year before the beginning of the kharif and rabi seasons.

Advantages

  • Price volatility makes life difficult for farmers. Though prices of agri commodities may soar while in short supply, during years of bumper production, prices of the very same commodities plummet.
  • MSPs ensure that farmers get a minimum price for their produce in adverse markets. MSPs have also been used as a tool by the Government to incentivise farmers to grow crops that are in short supply.

Criticisms

  • The Government of India has an MSP for 23 crops, but procurement at the MSP is effectively limited to rice and wheat, and that too concentrated in a few States only. 
  • Some critics argue that a rise in the MSP will lead to increase in food inflation, while others that it will augment farmers’ income
  • Substantial proportion of crops are sold to local private traders and input dealers to whom the resource-poor marginal and small landholders are obligated to sell their crops due to tie-up with credit.
  • A vast majority of the farming population is unaware of its existence as per the National Sample Survey’s (NSS) Situation Assessment Survey of Agricultural Households 2013, even for paddy and wheat, less than one-third of farmers were aware of the MSP; for other crops, such awareness was negligible. 

About the Release

  • The increase in MSP for Kharif Crops for 2019-20 season is in line with the principle of fixing the MSPs at a level of atleast 1.5 times of the all India weighted average Cost of production (CoP), which was announced in the last budget 2018-19.
  • This MSP policy whereby the farmers are assured of a minimum of 50 percent as margin of profit is one of the important and progressive steps towards doubling farmers’ income by 2022 and improving their welfare substantively.
  • The MSP mechanism provides a price guarantee to the farmers for their produce. This is implemented across the country as nearly 86% farmers are in small and marginal category (Agriculture Census 2015-16), the system ensures equity. It also helps in stabilising prices in the market and thus services the consumers as well.

2 . Young Scientist Programme


About Young Scientist Programme

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched a special programme for School Children called “Young Scientist Programme” “YUva VIgyani KAryakram” (युिवका) from this year.
  • The Program is primarily aimed at imparting basic knowledge on Space Technology, Space Science and Space Applications to the younger ones with the intent of arousing their interest in the emerging areas of Space activities. ISRO has chalked out this programme to “Catch them young”.
  • The residential training programme will be of around two weeks duration during summer holidays and it is proposed to select 3 students each from each State/ Union Territory to participate in this programme covering state, CBSE, and ICSE syllabus.
  • Those who have just finished 9th standard (in the academic year 2018-19) and waiting to join 10th standard (or those who have started 10th Std just now) will be eligible for the programme.
  • The selection will be based on the 8th Std marks. A few seats are left for the programme from various states.
  • The selection is based on the academic performance and extracurricular activities. Students belonging to the rural area have been given special weightage in the selection criteria.

3 . Agricultural Export Policy


Background

  • The Union Cabinet approved the Agriculture Export Policy, 2018. The Cabinet has also approved the proposal for establishment of Monitoring Framework at Centre with Commerce as the nodal Department with representation from various line Ministries/Departments and Agencies and representatives of concerned State Governments, to oversee the implementation of Agriculture Export Policy.
  • The Government has come out with a policy to double farmers’ income by 2022. Exports of agricultural products would play a pivotal role in achieving this goal. In order to provide an impetus to agricultural exports, the Government has come out with a comprehensive “Agriculture Export Policy” aimed at doubling the agricultural exports and integrating Indian farmers and agricultural products with the global value chains.
  • The Agriculture Export Policy has the following vision: “Harness export potential of Indian agriculture, through suitable policy   instruments, to make India global power in agriculture and raise farmers’ income.”

Objective of the Agriculture Export Policy 

  • To double agricultural exports from present ~US$ 30+ Billion to ~US$ 60+ Billion by 2022 and reach US$ 100 Billion in the next few years thereafter, with a stable trade policy regime.
  • To diversify our export basket, destinations and boost high value and value added agricultural exports including focus on perishables.
  • To promote novel, indigenous, organic, ethnic, traditional and non-traditional Agri products exports.
  • To provide an institutional mechanism for pursuing market access, tackling barriers and deal with sanitary and phyto-sanitary issues.
  • To strive to double India’s share in world agri exports by integrating with global value chain at the earliest.
  • Enable farmers to get benefit of export opportunities in overseas market.

Elements of Agricultural Export Policy 

Strategic Policy Measure

  • Infrastructure and logistics support
  • Holistic approach to boost exports
  • Greater involvement of State Governments in agri exports

Operational Policy Measure

  • Focus on Clusters
  • Promoting value-added exports
  • Marketing and promotion of “Brand India
  • Attract private investments into production and processing
  • Establishment of strong quality regimen
  • Research & Development
  • Miscellaneous

4 . India Brand Equity Foundation


About India Brand Equity Foundation

  • India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) is a Trust established by the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.
  • IBEF’s primary objective is to promote and create international awareness of the Made in India label in markets overseas and to facilitate dissemination of knowledge of Indian products and services.

5 . Schemes for promotion of innovation


Schemes for Promotion of innovation

  • Department of Science & Technology has launched a NIDHI program (National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations) under which programmes for setting up of incubators, seed fund, accelerators and ‘Proof of concept’ grant for innovators and entrepreneurs have been launched.
  • NIDHI, PRAYAS (Promoting and Accelerating Young and Aspiring innovators & Startups) programme has been initiated in which established Technology Business Incubators (TBI) are supported with PRAYAS grant to support innovators and entrepreneurs with grants for ‘Proof of Concept’ and developing prototypes.
  • To boost entrepreneurial spirit in India, the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), a flagship initiative of NITI Aayog, is supporting two programs for setting up and scaling up of incubation centres. The Atal Incubation Centres (AICs) scheme supports setting up of green field incubation centres that nurture innovative start-up businesses in their pursuit to become scalable and sustainable enterprises. The Established Incubation Centres scheme provides scale-up support to well performing existing incubation centres, referred to as Established Incubation Centers (EICs), where AIM intends to further augment their performance by providing them scale-up support. In both of these schemes, AIM is providing grants of upto INR 10 Crores over a period of 3-5 years.
  • Technology Incubation and Development of Entrepreneurs (TIDE) Scheme was put in place by MeitY in 2008 to promote innovation by nurturing startups in Information Technology, Communications & Electronics (ICTE) domain. Under the TIDE Scheme, financial assistance is provided to Institutions of Higher Learning to strengthen their Technology Incubation Centres for enabling young entrepreneurs to create technology startup companies for commercial exploitation of technologies developed by them.
  • Enhanced version Technology Incubation and Development of Entrepreneurs (TIDE 2.0) Scheme is to promote tech entrepreneurship through financial and technical support to incubators engaged in supporting ICT startups using emerging technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Block-chain, Robotics etc.
  • BIRAC BioNEST (BIRAC Bio-incubation: Nurturing Entrepreneurs for Scaling up Technology): BIRAC’s Flagship programme which creates / supports world-class bio-incubators for startups/ entrepreneurs to provide incubation space, mentor networks, instrumentation facilities, IP and technology management support.
  • SEED(Sustaining Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Development) Fund: Equity based funding support of up to Rs. 30 Lakh to startups and enterprises through bio-incubators for scaling up.
  • LEAP (Launching Entrepreneurial Driven Affordable Products Fund for Start-ups) Fund:  Equity based funding support of up to Rs 1 Cr to startups and enterprises implemented through Incubators for scaling enterprises.

6 . Steps taken by India in safeguarding intellectual Property Rights


Steps taken to Safeguard Intellectual Property Rights

  • National IPR Policy for India was adopted by the Government of India as a vision document that lays the future roadmap of IPRs in India. The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) has been set up to coordinate the implementation of the National IPR Policy.
  • IP awareness programmes have been undertaken in academic institutions, at both school and college level, as also for industry.
  • To streamline the processing of IP applications, IP procedures have been simplified and made user friendly by amendment to the Patents Rules in 2016 and Trademarks Rules in 2017.
  • Since 2014-15, the manpower has been augmented both in the Patent office and Trademarks registry which has resulted in major impact on pendency of IP applications.

The Government has taken following steps, inter alia, to enable and assist startups for filing of patents:

  • Under the amended Patents Rules, 80% patent fee reduction has been provided for Startups as compared to large companies.
  • Under the Scheme for Facilitating Startups Intellectual Property Protection (SIPP), 208 Patent Agents have been empanelled as facilitators by the Controller General of Patents, Trademarks and Designs, to provide assistance to Startups in the preparation and filing of their patent applications and, subsequently, during the stage of prosecution of applications before the Patent Office. Fees of the facilitators are paid by the Government as per the norms of the scheme.
  • Startups are also eligible for getting the processing of their patent applications expedited.

7 . Technology Development Programme


About Technology Development Programmes

  • Department of Science and Technology has been implementing Technology Development Programmes (TDP) to facilitate conversion of proof-of-concepts for technologies/ techniques/ processes/products into advance prototypes for validation and demonstration in field settings.

Main objectives of the program

  • Support R&D for development of innovative technologies in identified areas.
  • Promote application of advanced technology for improving the performance and value addition to existing technology.
  • Capacity building in the area of technology development in terms of human resource and infra-structure.

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